In this video, Masada’s Michael Heaton shares strategies to help your child engage in virtual learning and have success this school year.
My name is Michael Heaton. I’m an occupational therapist from Masada Homes, a community mental health agency serving Greater Los Angeles. I’m here today to present to you 10 strategies for improving your kids’ engagement in virtual learning. I’m excited to share with you these strategies so that you can help your child succeed with virtual learning.
We at Masada want to let you know that if you like this presentation, or you feel that your child needs more help after listening to this presentation, that we’re available for mental health assistance through a variety of disciplines. Please call 310-715-2020 if you need additional assistance.
How to Improve Your Child's Virtual Learning
1. Establish a Routine
The first and most important strategy is routine. Have the same routine every day for your child, have fun with it. Write a schedule for your kid. Have your kids sign into online platforms at the same time every day so that they know what to expect. Help your child use a calming routine before signing in to get them ready, maybe have them have a healthy snack, take a walk in the neighborhood or spend some time on their bike. And always end the learning session or their online schooling with a preferred activity such as free play time, a favorite snack or individual attention from you.
2. Create a Distraction-Free Learning Area
Set up a smart learning area. Always have your kid learn in the same area so that they associate that as their learning area. Mark off the area that the webcam can see your child with brightly colored tape so they know where they can stand and when they’re out of sight of the webcam. Keep the area free of distractions. Don’t have the TV playing, keep other people from moving in and out of the room and prevent them from hearing loud music that might distract them. And remove clutter from the area so that they’re not distracted by fun toys or knick-knacks in the area.
3. Give 'Em a Break!
Remember to give your kid breaks, just like in their school day, give them a recess. If you notice that they’re fidgeting, rubbing their eyes or yawning ask if they want a break to have a glass of water or to walk around the house or get some exercise.
4. Consider Alternative Seating and Fidget Toys
Have them sit on a therapy ball or a rocking chair so they can pay more attention. Also let them use things such as rubbery pencil grips or a small piece of Velcro stuck to their workstation so that they can play with it in an undistracting way to help themselves focus.
5. Use Checklists
Another effective strategy is to use checklists which are fun for kids. You can write down all the things they have to do during the day including their homework assignments and their school tasks and you can add their chores on there. And then you can have them check them off or put fun stickers on there when they finish the activity so that they can see their progress and know that they’ve accomplished something great.
6. Give Lots of Positive Praise
Catch your kid being good, catch them paying attention and give specific praise. Instead of saying good job, say things like I love how you raised your hand when you wanted to answer the teacher’s question. Giving praise is the best way to get your kid to do more of something you want them to do.
7. Energize with Snacks and Exercise
If you notice that your child is looking tired, use alerting strategies that will wake them up, consider crunchy snacks such as pretzels or apple slices, tart flavored candies such as grapefruit, Sour Patch Kids, lemonade or lead your child in five minutes of a movement activity such as jumping jacks, walking, dancing or a bike ride. This will energize them to continue with their school day.
8. Try Calming Strategies
If your child is seeming fidgety or hyper, try using calming strategies. Have them do heavy work activities such as helping you bring the groceries into the home, pushing a vacuum or give them a light massage with your hands. Also, have your kids practice doing things such as yoga or meditation which can calm them down. If you need a simple quick strategy deep breathing is often effective and you can lead them in various deep breathing activities either yourself or through the use of YouTube videos.
9. Check Their Work
One of the most important things you can do is check their work. Know what your child is expected to do for their schooling by emailing or calling their teacher then make sure that you look through their work and check that it’s up to the standards of the school and yourself. Kids are often not old enough to check their own work and it’s important that you both teach them how to check their own work and that you’re checking it yourself to make sure that it’s of a high quality.
10. Maintain Social Connections
And finally, make sure to maintain your child’s social connections. I’m sure they all miss their friends and it’s important that you’re setting up Zoom meetings or other virtual connections between your child and their friends so that they can continue to have those social interactions. It can also help because if they forget an assignment or don’t know what they’re expected to do for school they can call their friend and ask about missing assignment.
We're Here to Help
Thank you so much for listening to my presentation and I hope it helps.
We here at Masada Homes would like to make ourselves available if you feel like you could use additional help for your child. We provide therapy services for children, we have parent partners to support you as parents, and we have a variety of other services such as case management to help you connect with the resources you need. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day.